Climate change is directly related to human behaviour. The only way we can possibly reverse the impact of climate change therefore is to change our behaviour.
While that sounds overwhelming it doesn’t have to be. In combating climate change no action is too small to make a difference and many small differences soon add up to large benefits.
Gregor Murray our Lead member for Climate Emergency writes:
For the last two years Conservatives have been leading Wokingham Borough’s climate initiatives through their planning and development phases. During this time, we have set out expressly to solve the root cause of issues with the intention of not indirectly creating other problems further down the road. Through this approach WBC have:
- Submitted the planning application for our first solar farm.
- Established a Community Energy Fund.
- Begun programmes to upgrade residential properties.
- Construction of our carbon neutral Dinton Pastures Activity Centre is almost completed.
- Won funding for a variety of our initiatives including from the Woodland Trust; and
- Have begun detailed work on new, sustainable planning guidance.
Looking ahead, the single most important thing we can all do is to change our behaviour. To achieve this, there are two essential steps we must take. First, we must understand and then remove the barriers that prevent us all from acting more sustainably. And second, we have to provide and encourage the adoption of alternative solutions that satisfy the needs of our daily lives.
Conservatives have asked Wokingham Borough Council to focus their behaviour change initiatives around eight primary focus areas. These are:
- Engaging our children to live sustainably,
- Working with our businesses to help them operate sustainably,
- Encouraging a shift in transport and the way we move around our borough,
- Reducing the volume of waste we each produce,
- Reducing the amount of Energy we each use and potentially waste,
- Reducing food waste and encouraging sustainable sourcing and consumption,
- Reducing or repurposing the amount of clothing that is thrown away each year, sometimes after very little use, and
- Reducing water waste.
We have instructed WBC to engage with a number of experts in the field of behaviour change and ask them to share with us, and work with us on programmes and initiatives that will help move us all, step-by-step, towards a more sustainable and lower carbon way of living.
To support this, we will also be looking to inform and engage cross sections of our population to understand the need for behaviour change in more detail and understand the types of change that could be possible. From there, they will be asked to make recommendations on how that change could be achieved, what obstacles currently prevent that behaviour, and how the council can assist in turning the behaviour into action.
Wokingham Borough Council can’t force you to give up your car, buy less or install solar panels on your roof. Changing behaviour, for some, is also not going to be easy or practical.
Hopefully though, through a programme of initiatives and education we can remove the barriers to behaviour change and demonstrate that sustainable living can be easier, more cost effective and more environmentally friendly that you think.
In the meantime, if you have any ideas of how we can deliver behaviour change across our borough, if you have any ideas on how we can reduce our carbon footprint or, if you know of any obvious barriers that are preventing you from living a more sustainable life right now please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org